Tuesday, June 20, 2017

An All Time Favorite

Today is my 57th birthday, although I prefer to look at it as being 19 for the third time. Regardless of all that, I'm going to give a gift to you - a record which I've owned for a long time as part of a shared tape exchanged from long, long ago, but only acquired on vinyl in the last few days. And it is, as indicated in the title, an all-time favorite of mine. I was actually amazed (in searching, prior to making this post) that it never seems to have been shared by anyone before.

It's Rodd Keith, in his Rod Rogers mode, in a recording clearly made at the Film City song-poem factory, but released by a vanity label run by Roy "Curly" Rivers and Evelyn Sheets, who wrote songs together, and who combined their last names to form the Shevers label.

What's so special about this one? Well, there are several records made by Rodd Keith in a country vein wherein he sounds like he's less than serious about the genre, and seems to have his tongue in his cheek to varying degrees. For this song, however - the aptly named "Poverty" - his complete contempt for the material and the style fairly drips off of the grooves. The addition of a few added sounds tied into the lyrics is a nice touch. (The awful edit at 1:01, on the other hand, might be another indication of the level of seriousness with which he took this particular recording.)

Perhaps his intentions wouldn't be as clear if we didn't have Rodd's other records to compare this to - if all we knew was that this record sounded if it was made by an idiotic backwoods hick. But we know what he could do when he was serious, or even doing something lighthearted that he respected. This is just a complete deconstruction of a genre.

The couple behind the scenes at Shevers seem to have not been bothered by this - or perhaps it's what they asked for - as this is actually a single lifted from an entire album of songs that they commissioned, one which goes for a whole bunch of dollars, on the rare occasions that it turns up for auction.


Download: Rod Rogers - Poverty

On the flip side - and also from the "Singing in the Country" album, is a much more typical Rodd Keith Film City era record, titled "Luella". This track has a swinging Chamberlin track, with some creative soloing and voicing choices. The song has an interesting lyric, and Rodd sounds fully engaged with this one, with good reason, I'd say.

Download: Rod Rogers - Luella


Timmy said...

Both sides of this 45 are very good examples of why I love this web-site. I do like "Poverty" better, but since the vocals are so muddied & low volumed in the mix, I must in all fairness award the winning side to "Luella". Bravo, Rod, Bravo...
On the label, the address is given as 1034 N. Fairfax. Now, some friends of mine, long ago, lived at 1824 So. Fairfax Ave. So, I would place that label's address to somewhere around the cross street of Santa Monic Blvd. which is just about a half-mile north of the world famous Canter's Delicatessen. Well, I never knew about that business being there. Go figure ~

Stu Shea said...

You'd been kind enough to share "Poverty" with me before. I have always loved the sound effects and the shuffle tempo, and his Gabby Hayes/Walter Brennan vocal makes me laugh. Some of the lyrics are rather clever in this one, too, but as you say, it's easy to tell that he wasn't no country guy...